FundamentalVR, an immersive simulation platform for the medical and healthcare professions, has raised $20 million in a funding round to “accelerate skills transfer and surgical skills” through virtual reality (VR) applications ) and mixed reality (MR).
Despite its decades-long promise, virtual reality hasn’t traveled too far beyond gaming circles or niche industrial use cases, though it’s something Meta and its Big Tech cronies are aggressively pushing to to change. However, among the industries that have The long-adopted virtual reality is medicine and healthcare. For example, in 2009 a neurosurgeon in Canada used a virtual reality-based simulator to perform a simulation of real brain tumor surgery in what was considered a world first at the time. . More recently, virtual reality has been used in all sorts of healthcare scenarios, from treating social anxiety and other mental health issues to surgical training.
Medical simulation is a powerful example of how virtual reality and related MR systems are having a significant societal impact away from the mainstream gaze, with these technologies now regularly used to train new doctors or help surgeons maintain their existing skills. and learn new procedures. Data from Research and Markets suggests that the healthcare and medical simulation market is now a $2 billion industry, a figure that is expected to double within five years – and that’s something FundamentalVR seeks to capitalize.
Founded in London in 2012, FundamentalVR is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that combines virtual reality with haptics to enable medical processions to access training such as joint/spinal orthopedic procedures; anterior total hip arthroplasty (A-THR); total posterior hip arthroplasty (P-THR); total knee arthroplasty (TKA); facetectomies; and more.
At the heart of the company’s so-called fundamental surgery platform is what it calls HapticVR, which makes virtual procedures more realistic through physical sensory feedback – HapticVR is compatible with a myriad of wearable devices, including including specially designed haptic gloves and controllers.
It should be noted that the company box provide the hardware when specific partners and institutions require it as part of a commercial agreement, but for the most part FundamentalVR is the engine and interface for companies’ existing hardware – this includes VR headsets such as Oculus Quest and HTC Vive, as well as MR platforms such as Holo Lens and Magic Leap.
“It’s designed to be hardware independent and able to work with any laptop, VR headset, and haptic equipment readily available on the open market on Amazon or specialty electrical stores,” explained the CEO of FundamentalVR. , Richard Vincent, at TechCrunch. “This makes the solutions highly scalable and affordable.”
In addition to this, FundamentalVR also allows an unlimited number of users to interact in virtual classrooms and operating theaters around the world.
There are plenty of players in the burgeoning medical simulation space, such as Medical Realities, ImmersiveTouch, and OssoVR, the latter of which recently closed a $66 million funding round. However, Vincent is adamant that his more holistic realistic haptics is what really sets him apart – he mixes skin vibration (tactile vibration) with kinesthesia, which includes force, feedback and positional haptics.
“Surgery is a multi-sensory skill – touch is essential for the surgeon to learn and perform procedures and a requirement for learning true surgical skills,” Vincent said. “However, not all haptics are created equal, and there is a huge difference between dermal and kinesthetic haptics technology and how it can be used. While VR simulations with dermal feedback are proficient at medical education and training to help gain knowledge, the addition of “full force” haptics now enables skill acquisition.
FundamentalVR customers include medical institutions, device manufacturers, and even pharmaceutical companies offering new therapies, including the Swiss-American multinational Novartis, which used FundamentalVR to create a haptic simulation for a subretinal injection. Other customers include Mayo Clinic, NYU Langone and UCLA in the United States; UCLH and Imperial College in the UK; and Sana Kliniken, a network of university hospitals in Germany.
FundamentalVR’s latest funding round was led by EQT Life Sciences, with participation from Downing Ventures. The company has now raised just over $30 million in total.